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Become an ACHIEVER! A New Weight Loss Program at Joslin

Monday, September 09, 2013

People who would like to join a weight loss program designed specifically for patients with diabetes now have third option at Joslin Diabetes Center. ACHIEVERS, a credits-based weight management program built around your schedule , has been added to  Joslin’s 12-week Why WAIT program and the 5-day YOU-Turn program.

“We are giving people flexibility,” said Osama Hamdy, M.D., Ph.D., Medical Director of Joslin’s Obesity Clinical Program. Previously, people hoping for weight loss support could only choose from Joslin’s two group intervention programs. If they were ineligible or couldn’t fit that commitment into their schedule, there were no other options.

ACHIEVERS offers an alternative. Patients who sign up for the program attend 15 classes over a three to six month period. Classes are held on Thursdays, and patients can choose which session of which class best fits their schedule. As long as they complete all 15 classes (thereby earning 15 credits) by the end of their six month period, they are ACHIEVERS graduates.

“We expect to see improvement in control, reduction in medications, improvement in overall health,” said Dr. Hamdy. He added that if patients are dedicated and have no physical or dietary restrictions that might slow progress, ACHIEVERS should see similar results to those participating in the Why WAIT program—losing an average of 10.3 percent of their weight during the 12-week program, then maintaining an average of 6.3 percent weight loss during the following four years. Participants with restrictions will still see results, though not quite as drastic.

The first step in getting involved in one of Joslin’s weight management programs is to attend an evaluation in which one of the four weight management doctors at Joslin determines which program would best fit your lifestyle and schedule. Then, there’s a meeting with Joan Beaton, the “matchmaker” for the programs, to discuss finances, program structure, and patient responsibility.

Patients sorted into the ACHIEVERS program will work with Joan to create a personalized schedule of classes to be completed in  three and six months from the patients’ start date. In that  time patients see doctors, dietitians, exercise physiologists, behavioral health specialists and nurse educators to learn about how to eat healthy, exercise safely, think differently about food and understand how a changed lifestyle affects medications and glucose monitoring.

When patients finish their program, they meet once more with an M.D. for a final evaluation to identify success and potential hurdles to continuing this healthy lifestyle once classes end. Patients have the option to continue with monthly follow-ups to be sure they stay on the right track.

With the addition of ACHIEVERS, “my hope is that we will open the door for more patients who are seeking weight loss to have a program,” said Dr. Hamdy. “I’m dreaming that lifestyle intervention will be an option for every patient who comes to Joslin without exception.”

Interested in learning more? Contact Joan Beaton at joan.beaton@joslin.harvard.edu or call (617) 309-3491.

Page last updated: August 23, 2014